Indeed, it was the I Muestra del Perro de Presa Canario, and the nerves, the euphoria, the worry, everything passed. This first sample has, has had, two perfectly defined, clear, opposite sides. To take stock of it would be very complicated, annoying, dangerous, because it would be to go back to what has already been said, what has already been denounced, it would be… to start the polemic again, and that would be superfluous at this time, because the reality is now completely different (it seems), as we are going to see.
On the 18th of October 1986, in a meeting room of the building, formerly a school, of the Parque Cultural Viera y Clavijo (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), in which we were gathered some enthusiasts of the Presa Canario, some curious people, the board of directors of the Spanish Presa Canario Club, a veterinarian representing the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the president of the Spanish Royal Central Canine Society, a member of the Spanish Canine Breed Commission (of the Spanish Central Canine Society), the president of the Canary Islands Canine Society, with registered office in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. At that meeting-assembly, things were said. The underlying issues were not touched upon, but things were said. They were said by the president of the Central Canina, and by the representative of the Comisión de Razas Caninas Españolas. Important things, although for some it may not seem so, transcendental things. It was said that it was necessary to put an end to the controversy. That it was necessary to unite. That we, the fans of the Perro de Presa Canario, had to unite. That the work was going to be hard. That there was sufficient base (dogs) to work with. Recognition was not an easy thing to do. That it was a matter of years. that the international dog fancy was expectant, awaiting the Perro de Presa Canario, and that we had to abandon our conflicting positions for the good of the Canary Island molosser. Passionate intervention of the members of the Central Canina Española. They tried to be convincing, not least under the circumstances. Either we move forward with the Perro de Presa Canario or everything goes down the drain. And they were right. The kingdoms of taifas do not benefit anyone, not even the Presa Canario, which has to become a breed. And one thing became very clear, and that is that the Presa Canario (with lower case letters at the moment) is not yet a breed, but it can become one, if we make an intelligent effort. To throw the bells to the flight and say, “Because the Perro de Presa Canario…”, is a tremendous mistake. And this first sample showed that this is the case. Bardino dogs, yes, and tawny dogs, yes, but they are very different from each other, very noticeable racial differences that are not overlooked by the moderately knowledgeable.
In that general assembly (it occurs to me to call it that to give it a name) the collective tension was palpable, and few, very few, were the interventions by the public (three or four, and they meant nothing). And it didn’t have to be any other way. The session ended and everyone went outside, in the open air, to stretch their legs, to comment, to say and contradict, to criticize, some frowning, others happy, with the feeling, perhaps, of having won, I say. Beaten by whom? Of course, what most of those present were unaware of was that shortly afterwards (at the request of the Gran Canarian club, not the CEPPC as someone claims at the moment) eight people would be seated around a table in the German Tavern. These people were going to address the substantive issues that had been overlooked in the “general assembly”. They were going to debate, to make things concrete. Because things were not clear. Nothing was yet clear. There had been a long controversy about the Perro de Presa Canario. That if recovery, that if reconstruction, that if breed, that if not breed, that if the Presa Canario “Spanish” club, that if yes, that if not. And there, in the basement, cellar, or whatever you want to call it, of the Taberna Alemana, they sat (after several dirty attempts by the Club Español Del Presa Canario so that the undersigned would not participate) around a table: the president of the Central Canina de España, the member of the Comisión de Razas Caninas Españolas, the president of the Sociedad Canina de Canarias, the veterinarian delegated by the Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca, the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine El Mundo del Perro, seated separately as a listener, the president of the Club del Presa Canario, of Tenerife, its secretary, the president of the Club de Perros de Presa Canarios, of Gran Canaria, and yours truly. The president of the Sociedad Canina Española and the representative of the Comisión de Razas Caninas Españolas, as in the general assembly, made an effort to be convincing, to take the water to the mill of understanding, to drag us, one and all, from both sides, to the fraternal embrace, but… And the gentlemen of the Spanish Presa Canario club were negotiators, as was to be expected and desired. And the president of the Club de Perros de Presa Canarios, of Gran Canaria, and the undersigned made an effort to make it clear that there should not be a privileged club, because the Presa Canario was/is a thing of all the fanciers and breeders, and nobody had to be more than anybody else in its recovery/reconstruction, and after a timely intervention of the president of the Sociedad Canina de Canarias (Augusto Fierro) the following agreement was reached: Every year there will take place a show of canary prey in Tenerife, in which all the fanciers who wish to participate with their dogs will be able to do so. No pre-selection, no one will be left out with their dog, no matter what its characteristics are. This point is important, very important. In this way, everyone will be able to know what the canine population of prey in the Canary Islands is. Because there is a lot of bird dog out there that can say something with its presence, typical or not, flat or not, bardino, fawn, spotted, etc. There is also an annual exhibition of similar characteristics in Gran Canaria.
Hopefully these agreements will be fulfilled, for the good of the Perro de Presa Canario, patrimony of all the Canary Islanders, not of a few. With the intervention of the Comisión de Razas Caninas Españolas year after year, in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, with their advice, with their arbitration, with their notes, which will be taken punctually at each show, the Presa Canario (with small letters at this moment) will become, little by little, the Perro de Presa Canario. According to what was said, according to what was agreed, we agreed, in that session, behind closed doors (although the door will not be closed and someone was with his ears attentive to what was being discussed there) that we will meet annually, in a round table, Tenerife and Gran Canaria fanciers, with members of the Commission of Canine Breeds of Spain, to discuss about the Perro de Presa Canario, about the steps to follow in the breeding and selection of the same. And this will be done on an equal footing, those from Tenerife and those from Gran Canaria. And no one will ride more than anyone else (we hope), and with a single protagonist: the Perro de Presa Canario.
Published by the author in El Día on October 31, 1986, and in El Mundo del Perro, nº 81, December 1986.